Landscape Architect & Specifier News

MAR 2017

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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92 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Secret Garden Continued from page 90 arrive in a courtyard guarded by a playhouse with a green roof of moss and herbs. A recirculating stream tumbles out of the forest, spanned by a small footbridge that offers opportunities to poke at snails and frogs along the water's edge. A stone wall rises from the earth nearby, offering adults a place to sit, watch, and if they feel like it, flip a hidden switch that triggers squirts of water from a modified irrigation system. Beyond the stream is a small platform over a pit of creek sand where loose parts made from natural materials can be transformed into forts. A nearby labyrinth brings visitors past a white oak stump that serves as a throne where one can sit and get lost in a book or the sensory delights of the forest. Here the slope steepens and requires a little more fitness, the reward being a two-story playhouse. This "stump house" is the gateway to a series of elevated decks, each requiring a little more maturity and strength to access, where one may eventually climb to the "nest" at the top and survey the layered, bloom- laden Secret Garden below, or chat with the adults who have been there Left: The Yellow Brick Road is painted onto the asphalt path and coated with wet-look sealer and glitter. By following the Yellow Brick Road, children and families can go from Oz to the rest of the park. Above: Adult use of the space was taken into consideration when designing the private park. A small stone labyrinth provides a place for contemplation, and the wooden storyteller's chair allows both children and adults to rest, read, or just enjoy nature. "A fantasy nature world that fosters a love affair with the environment and provides a range of physical challenges…" all along, lounging in the Adirondack chairs with a glass of wine. The natural environment surrounding the Secret Forest helps make any outdoor space in this part of North Carolina special. But, with a little ingenuity, and an extensive knowledge of early childhood development, the team at Lift has been able to augment the playground nature already had in place to support a range of activities for boosting children's physical and cognitive capabilities. Making each of the Secret Garden's vignettes support adult activities as well ensures that the garden is a resource for the entire family. Above: The final area in the secret garden is this open, wooden tree house. Adirondack chairs on its deck create a comfortable space for adults to socialize and supervise play from a distance. A small set of stairs provides one access point, while the young and young at heart can reach the seating area via a series of elevated decks, bridges and stairs.

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